WEB EXCLUSIVE: Climate Controlled Storage – A Cool Trend1 Sep, 2013 By: Ayal Latz Response
We are seeing a recent trend toward more marketers searching for climate-controlled storage space. To begin with, let’s provide a definition: climate-controlled storage refers to the warehousing of goods at a controlled temperature and humidity range. Each product category may require a slightly different range, but most commonly, the targeted temperature is between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit, otherwise referred to as “room temperature,” with humidity maintained at 50 percent or less. Product categories that commonly require climate-controlled storage include pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, vitamins, cosmetics, food goods, media (CDs/DVDs) and electronics – among others.
Climate-controlled storage is not cold, refrigerated or frozen storage. Those are highly specialized forms of storage that require different equipment and often have tighter tolerances.: think popsicles. They must be frozen throughout the distribution channel, without exception, or they will cease to be a viable product, whereas a bottle of vitamins may lose their efficacy if stored at high temperatures for an extended period of time.
What is causing this increase in interest for climate-controlled storage? There are a variety of reasons. The first reason could simply be the increase in the sheer number of over-the-counter medications/supplements (OTCs) entering the market. While many of these products do not require Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, they are required to be handled and stored under FDA Good Manufacturing Process (GMP) standards, which include warehousing and storage.
This typically includes the need for climate-controlled storage. These products include nutraceuticals, personal care products, cosmetics, diet supplements and food and beverage items. As more products from these categories enter the direct-to-consumer distribution network, it is natural to see the increased demand. For more information regarding GMP standards, go to the FDA’s website (www.fda.gov) and review Title 21, subpart H.
A second reason reflects well on the direct-to-consumer industry. More marketers are taking the FDA’s GMP requirements more seriously. Not only does the marketer increase its liability through non-compliance, but also many are realizing that these standards can also benefit them by ensuring the quality and efficacy of the products they sell. For example, a marketer may think that no danger will come to a consumer if the product has not been stored in a climate-controlled environment (and they may be right). However, the consequence of this action may be that the product has lost its efficacy or is not as attractive to the consumer. If you’re selling a cosmetic that no longer does its job, and/or has become discolored, the marketer may experience a higher rate of returns and customer attrition.
Climate-controlled storage for your products is valid in all geographies, both north and south. The objective is to eliminate the risk associated with fluctuations in temperature and humidity, whether it’s protection from cold or excessive heat. Don’t try to outguess the weather.
Climate-controlled storage is more expensive than non-controlled storage. An obvious reason is that a special physical location must be established that has a separate temperature and humidity control. This isolates the area from non-controlled, ambient space. And unlike the situations described above, the temperature and humidity will be maintained at all times. Therefore, this special area has entirely different heating and cooling costs than the non-controlled space.
Today’s consumer demands quality products. And with many of these products, there is potential for deterioration due to changes in temperature and humidity. Marketers have the opportunity to be in compliance with all regulations and best practices. This will ensure that your products are always as good as they can be, providing you with a marketing advantage.
Ayal Latz is president of a2b Fulfillment Inc., in Greensboro, Ga. He can be reached at (866) 843-3827, ext. 118, or via E-mail at [email protected].